Nigerian Senators Are Not ‘Distinguished’ — Sagay By Gabriel Olawale

Lagos—THE end to the face-off between Nigerian Senators and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Itse Sagay, SAN, is far from sight.

The Professor of Law, yesterday, continued his tongue-lashing of the legislators saying that they were abusing the word ‘Distinguished’ they are addressed as.

Senators and Sagay have been on daggers drawn for some time with Sagay accusing the legislators of milking the nation’s meagre resources while the lawmakers accused him of being a loose canon and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call him to order.

Speaking at the Hallmarks of Labour Foundation Re-union in Lagos, yesterday, Sagay again stated that the nation had failed to utilise the natural resources she was blessed with and the political elite had worsen the problems.

In his words: “Our current ruling class, particularly the Senate has no value, no honour, no vision, no integrity, no compassion for the sufferings of fellow Nigerians. The attachment of ‘Distinguished’ to their name is a horrible bastardization and gross abuse of that term. Now, I reject it with contempt when anyone addresses me with that unfortunate term.”

He also called for total restructuring of the country, saying that it was a known fact that some governors spent more time in Abuja than in their respective states, saying that at the end of every month, the 36 commissioners from the states of the federation would assemble in a class room in Abuja presided over by the Federal Minister of Finance to share money in the Federation Account based on a formula no one really understood.

“This money comes from three major sources, oil money from Niger Delta, duty collection and VAT from Lagos State. After sharing, the commissioners will head back to their respective governors for allocation sharing based on what they consider priorities and wait for the next monthly allocation. It is inconceivable for any state to grow with this type of structure that puts state on welfare benefits,” he lamented.

According to Sagay, the plight of northern population were completely self-inflicted as the elite and ruler in the region continued to suppress their own populations, saying that all the Local Governments Areas received federal allocation and with 419 LGA in northern part as against 355 in southern and 19 northern states as against 17 southern states, as the bulk of national fund went to the north.

“So why is there more poverty in the North than South?” He asked.

Also speaking, former Secretary General, Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, decried that the nation had never been so divided like what is being witnessed currently, blaming it on lack of knowledge by younger generation.

According to him, the most regrettable aspect of it all is that history is no longer taught in schools which meant that the younger generations are growing up unaware of the society values that existed earlier in this country, saying that they are growing up not knowing the differences in ethnicity and religious in Nigeria.

Speaking on repositioning education in Nigeria for peace and development, former Minister of Petroleum and Super Perm Sec, Chief Philip Asiodu, said that if government can prioritize education in the next 15 years there will be no state that will be at disadvantage and the country will be able to successfully abolish illiteracy in the country.

“There is need for universal compulsory education for all citizens up to the age of 18, religion freedom for all and language policy to promote national integration. We need a language policy to promote national integration as part of our education; such policy will require a student to learn another language aside from his parents’ language and the universal language, which is English. If you are in North, you must choose one southern language and if you are in South you must choose one northern language.

The Chairman Board of Trustees, Hallmark of Labour Foundation, Emeritus Prof. Umaru Shehu, said that: ”In the last 21 years, Hallmarks of Labour Foundation has been recognising exemplary men and women, who against all odds have embraced hard work and integrity and so far has recognized 51 role models”

Executive Secretary of Hallmark of Labour Foundation, Mrs. Patricia Otuedon-Arawore, said that the foundation has continued to give Nigerian youths positive choice and encouraged them to follow the path of hard work and patriotism through character emulation.

Vanguard